Local Stars of the Furniture Scene

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, October 22, 2016 @ 08: 28 AM



Foodies started the concept of buying local years ago – and now it's catching on in other areas: fashion, art, crafts and even furniture.

At FCG, we're proud to support our local craftsmen and furniture-makers. Here in New England, we have some of the finest woodworkers in the nation. Their furniture pieces are solid wood, typically harvested from local and regional forests. This furniture is made in America, with diligence and pride.   

Consider some of the pieces we have in our showrooms this weekend.

Eldred Wheeler prides itself on making furniture in the same manner as the skilled cabinet-makers who flourished in 18th century America. Using wide boards of cherry, maple and tiger maple, Eldred Wheeler hand-planes and scrapes the wood, then uses old-fashioned techniques to join, carve and finish.

Its furniture is typically very costly, but we have some amazing bargains on consignment. Among them is this tiger maple one-drawer nightstand:

D.R. Dimes and Co. crafts museum-quality reproduction American furniture. The company takes pride in being not only in the furniture business but also in "the history business." Working with tiger maple, oak, cherry and pine, all its pieces are made at its workshop in New Hampshire.

This week, in our store in Natick, we have an exquisite oval dining table made of cherry:

Thos. Moser has won scores of awards for its furniture which is characterized by "simple, unadorned, graceful lines ... crafted for a long, useful life." Headquartered in Maine, which has a long history of wood craftsmanship, the company creates its pieces from black cherry and guarantees them for the lifetime of the original owner.

This week, we had a Thos. Moser king bed in our showroom in Natick. That piece sold quickly to an avid collector, but we're fortunate to get new pieces into our showrooms frequently. Watch our website for these stunning pieces. 

Our three stores, combined, offer nearly 40,000 square feet of showroom space, in which you'll find the finest collection of pre-owned furniture in the nation.  Stop in and we'll be glad to show you some of the treasures hand-crafted here in New England.

Names You Should Know

Posted by Jay Frucci on Mon, October 17, 2016 @ 09: 11 AM



Our three stores are full of furniture from the top-name brands: Baker, Thomasville, Henredon, Ethan Allen, and Henkel Harris. But every now and then we'll get some exquisite pieces from lesser-known boutiques. Here are three names you should know if you love high quality and cutting-edge design:

Minton-Spidell offers an eclectic mix of reproductions of 18th and 19th century European-style furniture along with new, transitional, clean-lined pieces. The company is known for its hand-applied finishes ranging from French polish-style wood stains to artfully aged paints and 23k burnished gold.

This week, at our new showroom in Natick, we have a set of 12 chairs by Minton-Spidell. Here's a link so you can take a look:

Dakota Jackson has been a leading designer in American furniture for four decades. Born to a family of traveling magicians, Jackson himself was a magician until he began making props for other performers in the early 1970s.

As a furniture-maker, his avant-garde work often featured moving parts or hidden compartments. Among his patrons is Yoko Ono, who once commissioned him to make a desk for her husband John Lennon. She wanted a "mystical object" like a Chinese puzzle, Jackson has said.

His furniture is featured in collections at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Germany's Deutsches Architektur Museum and The London Design Museum.

In our showroom in Hanover, we have two chairs designed by Dakota Jackson. The espresso frames and graphic fabric give the chairs a sharp, updated look. Check them out:

Bausman is one of the leading manufacturers of French, English & Italian reproductions. The company is known for its complex and detailed finishing processes.

Bausman is fussy about its lumber. Typically, it uses only three kinds of lumber. One is Western alder from the Pacific Northwest, a fine-grained hardwood with a light tan or honey color. Second is walnut, which ranges from creamy white sapwood to chocolate brown heartwood. Bausman has stopped using mahogany because of the damaging effects on the environment of harvesting mahogany trees. Instead, it is now using oak.

Check out the beautiful Bausman dining-room set in our showroom in Hanover:

Swaim, a family-owned company since 1945, designs luxurious contemporary furniture in High Point, North Carolina, the furniture capital of the world. Its pieces have clean, classic lines but you can enhance a sense of funk or quirk with its vast arrays of fabrics.

Check out these armless chairs done in an animal-print upholstery in our showroom in Natick:

You Said It

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, October 08, 2016 @ 09: 13 AM



Every week, I get to talk and let you know what's on my mind. Sometimes, I share what's happening in our stores or on the home front. Other times, I vent about politics or some other vexing issue in the news.

This week, I thought I'd let you talk. I wanted to share some of the feedback we've gotten in recent weeks from you, our customers. Here's a sample:

My son is attending college in Boston and he moved into his own apartment this fall. I didn't know how in the world we were going to furnish it – until I found Furniture Consignment on the internet and our worries were over.  We won't be ranked among your biggest customers this year, but we will qualify as the happiest. -DK

We were at FCG in Plymouth yesterday and bought a great glass-top table from Crate & Barrel with four leather chairs. It's just perfect for us. Diane could not have been more accommodating and pleasant! -DB

We've been so impressed with your stores.  It's a great Sunday road trip! I've bought furniture from you sight unseen because I truly trust you and FCG.  Keep up the great work. -SG

I purchased two large pieces of furniture which you delivered to my home earlier today. Both pieces look terrific and the two gentlemen who delivered them did a terrific job. I am thrilled to have discovered you and will continue to monitor your website for additional purchases. -KQ

Jay, you and your team create an awesome customer experience! FCG is the "Holy Grail" of the furniture retail arena. You've cracked the code and you've earned your success!

So keep those cards and letters – and emails – coming! We love to hear from you. Whether you're voicing a complaint or word of praise, I promise that we take your feedback seriously. Our goal is to give you the best furniture shopping experience in New England.

Just Business? I Don't Buy It

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, October 01, 2016 @ 09: 03 AM



Like most of America, I am struggling to choose a candidate.

Neither the candidates nor their handlers – or even the media with their never-ending stream of commentary – are helping. Every day, one or both of the candidates gets called out some sordid example of bad behavior. And in response, a sheepish chorus starts bleating loudly.

"It's just business," they say. Or "it's just politics".

That was especially evident a few nights ago. Both Clinton and Trump were slinging some pretty spectacular accusations and half-truths at each other during the debate – and deflecting them with the same all-purpose excuse. "That's just business," they or their supporters would say. Or "that's just politics." 

Eleven years ago, Diana and I started a new adventure as the owners of Furniture Consignment Gallery on route 53 in Hanover. I heard that phrase a lot in the first few weeks and months in business. Being young and idealistic – I was in my early thirties back then – I usually got the condescending version: "It's just business, kid."

Typically, that phrase was being offered up as an explanation for some sort of shifty practice or questionable short-cut. And you can bet that someone – usually me in those days – was getting a raw deal. I learned to hate the phrase "just business". I hate it even more now. Because I know from experience there is no excuse.  

Early on, Diana and I made the decision that we would succeed or fail without having to resort to the kinds of practices that required excuses. And over time we've proven that business can be fair and honest. Business can be kind and respectful. Business can have integrity – and still be successful.

That's not to say that business isn't hard. Tough decisions are often required. And sometimes we make mistakes. We apologize and we correct them. At the heart of it, every enterprise is a relationship – with customers, employees, suppliers and partners – built on trust, a day at a time.

Listen up, candidates. No more excuses. It isn't just business. It's personal. And it matters if you want my vote. 

Eclectic Mix of New Arrivals are Must see and Must Visit

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, September 24, 2016 @ 08: 31 AM



For Brad and Ron, interior decorating is more than art. It's a passion and, at times, a competition between two outsized talents.

As a manager and senior sales associate of FCG, respectively, Brad and Ron design our showrooms expertly. The twin brothers have strong opinions about decorating. That's why it will come as no surprise what happened when the duo visited a designers' showhouse on the South Shore.

Knowing the twins' propensity to be outspoken, we'd sent along a chaperone, one of our sales associates. Even she couldn't muzzle them. As the twins moved from one lavishly decorated room to another, offering a running commentary like a vigilante Design Police, a chortling crowd started to follow.

"You know a lot about furniture," one woman said. "Where do you work?"

"Furniture Consignment Gallery," the twins replied in unison, proudly.

"Eww," another woman sniffed loudly. "Used furniture? I'd never decorate with used furniture."

For a moment, there was silence. Then Ron and Brad swung around to face the woman like two armored tanks. "Not used," said Ron, with disdain. "Pre-owned," said Brad. But, the woman didn't cease her fire and continued to trample on the chore of FCG's business. "Pre-owned? Is that what you call it now? Fancy words to dress up some old junk."

The twins escalated the verbal gunfire. "The best brands." "Impeccable quality." "Pristine condition."

By now, the woman had slunk out of the room – and was looking for a new group where she could toss out some more grennades. "I love FCG," a woman spoke in a loud whisper for all to hear. "Me, too!" launched another. One woman went as far to say that she takes all of her out of town guests to our stores.

Thanks, Ron and Brad, for defending the honor of FCG. We are proud to be the largest consignment furniture company in New England. We're proud of our three stores with their vast showrooms. And we're proud of the bargains you'll find there every day.

Second Markdown Hits in Natick. Come Shop Today!

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, September 17, 2016 @ 09: 50 AM



Brian, our merchandising master, was working his usual magic in the showroom in Hanover. In a bare corner, he placed a gorgeous restored mahogany china cabinet made in the 1940s. Then, he hung a French country mirror on the wall. Next, he pulled in a transitional sofa and added some industrial-style lighting. The result: creative, eclectic and superbly stylish.

"Inspiring!" exclaimed a customer who'd witnessed his work. "I'm so tired of matchy-matchy furniture. I'd love a look like that in my home. Can you help me?"

Yes, we can. At FCG, we embrace the new freedom that's emerging in interior design. Gone is the old rulebook that demanded conformity to style or period. Now, you can play with color, texture and style. In fact, a home that layers a variety of different pieces artfully is far more dynamic and interesting that one that slavishly follows a rigid scheme.

Thanks to our gifted merchandisers, every one of our three showrooms looks like a decorator's paradise. In Natick, you might find a pair of Giancarlo Piretti black leather chairs from the 1970s paired with a warm burled wood coffee table. In Plymouth, you may see a cozy antique chaise with a glass and steel side table.

In Hanover, Brian has deftly paired rustic with modern, contemporary with modern, and European with classic American. Brian's rulebook has only one rule: Love every piece of furniture in your home.

Your home tells a story about your life, your heritage, your family – and about the extraordinary things you've found along your journey. Come visit our stores and get some ideas on how you can tell your story thoughtfully and artistically.

Yes, you can find all the items in our showrooms on our website. But I promise you that our furniture displays will really fire your imagination. And should you need help, the decorating geniuses in our stores are always full of great ideas.

Sturdy and Solid, but Out of Style

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, September 10, 2016 @ 08: 34 AM



She was circling our showroom, glancing at certain pieces of furniture and flipping over a few of the price tags. But I could tell she wasn't here to buy. She wanted to sell.

When I asked her gently if she was interested in selling some furniture, she lit up. "Oh, yes!" she said. "I've even got photos!"

She showed me a photo of a bedroom set from the 1960s: walnut dressers with square brass pulls and a headboard to match. Her parents had given her the bedroom set as wedding gift, a common practice fifty years ago. She'd polished it weekly for more than half a century.

American-made furniture from that era was crafted so well that it would survive the apocalypse. Manufacturers used solid wood such as mahogany, rock maple and walnut. The wood was properly dried, milled and constructed. The pieces were crafted with mortise tenon joints, simple and strong. Even the brass pulls were substantial.

But, sadly, today's buyers are looking for something different. Those durable pieces are out of style – as unfashionable as bouffant hair-dos and short shorts on the basketball court. "Unfortunately," I gently told our hopeful consignor, "we won't be able to sell your furniture."

Delivering that disappointing news is hard for us at FCG. But our buyers are looking for stylish, nearly-new furniture in pristine condition. That's why we rarely accept any wood furniture from the 1960s, 1970s, or the 1980s. And we're very selective about the pieces we'll take from the 1990s and 2000s. We generally won't accept any upholstered furniture older than five years. Our standards are very high. Sofas and chairs cannot have any sun damage or pet wear.

In the last year or so, even we've been surprised at the rapid shift in furniture styles. Consider the basic double-pedestal mahogany dining-room table that was so popular in wealthy suburban homes. Well, it isn't anymore. Our buyers are looking for more stylish, contemporary and transitional looks in their dining rooms.

We have to be selective to please today's furniture buyer. We know how much your beloved furniture means to you. So we promise to tell you the truth – but gently.

Dangers of Boston: Traffic, Students, Parking Tickets

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, September 03, 2016 @ 08: 45 AM



"M'am!!! Please, just four more minutes! I'll move the truck, I promise!" Dana, our senior furniture mover, was pleading with a meter maid last week in downtown Boston – to no avail.  

Boston's meter maids issue more than a million parking tickets a year, and our trucks get slapped regularly. If our delivery team leaves the truck unattended for a moment, whammo! There's a bright orange envelope on the windshield demanding $85. Meter maids are merciless.

Boston has never been busier. GE is moving to town, bringing hundreds of employees and their families here to scope out new homes. Some 250,000 college kids are hurrying back to the city for the start of school. Almost every street is clogged with out-of-state cars disgorging three seasons' worth of clothing and sports equipment into dorms and apartments.

Our trucks are dodging all these dangers – and the meter maids – while collecting the finest pre-owned furniture in the city for our three stores in Hanover, Plymouth and Natick. Last week, the busiest of the year in Boston, we got busted: two parking tickets in two days.  

But, I'll admit, it was worth it. This weekend, our three showrooms are filled with great pieces from Arhaus, Mitchell Gold, Restoration Hardware, Ethan Allen, and Grange. We picked up a pair of Eames chairs for our store in Natick. In all three stores, you'll also many one-of-a-kind items: fireplace screens, art, including a whale-tail sculpture, lamps, pillows and even a brass bumble-bee door knocker.

So we lost the battle with the meter maid. But we filled our truck with treasures galore. So stop into one of our stores this weekend to see what we got for you.

Welcome to Boston, GE

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, August 27, 2016 @ 08: 32 AM



Boston is a boomtown. 

Real estate values are soaring. Restaurants are jammed. Tradesmen are busy renovating homes and building skyscrapers. At FCG, we're busier than ever.

Fueling a lot of the boom is the corporate giant General Electric. Earlier this year, GE announced plans to relocate its headquarters to Boston's Seaport District from its suburban campus in Connecticut. GE's move will bring 800 executives and their families to Boston by 2018.

Eager to embrace their new home, GE's executives are moving swiftly. And we're proud to report that they're turning to FCG, the largest furniture consignment company in New England, for help. Several senior executives have chosen to consign furniture from their Connecticut homes at FCG. We also hope to help outfit their new homes here once they discover the great bargains in our stores.

Last week, we brought a truckload of extraordinary furniture from one top executive's home to our store in Hanover. Among the pieces: an antique lawyer's cabinet in blonde mahogany with 15 cubbies for storage. That executive also consigned a Maitland Smith mahogany coffee table and lots of leather furniture by Hancock & Moore, all in pristine condition.

What all that means for our shoppers is that our three showrooms are jammed with amazing, top-quality furniture bargains. And every week there's more pouring in to all three of our stores, including our newest on Route 9 Eastbound in Natick.

We're proud of the trust we've earned from our soon-to-be new neighbors. We're honored to help in the historic relocation of one of the nation's most respected corporate citizens, a company that will soon hold the title of the state's biggest employer. So, welcome to Boston, GE.

Lazy Days of Summer? Not at FCG

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, August 20, 2016 @ 08: 30 AM


Page 5. That's how far my teenage son has gotten with his required summer reading. Suddenly, though, digging into a book that's been gathering dust all summer on his nightstand is a matter of the utmost urgency. That's probably because I asked him to weed the garden. We've got crabgrass on steroids out there.

Like most teenagers, he's horrified at the thought of undertaking such backbreaking labor under the brutal rays of the summer sun. His idea of vigorous exercise is hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock. Or twiddling a video game controller.

Okay, maybe I am being a little hard on the kid. He's had a long and successful summer of competitive waterskiing. But by mid-August, the scheduled activities have ground to a halt. Making microwave popcorn and balancing a bowl of cereal on his belly while watching television are the highlights of his Summer Olympics.

In my book, that means it's time for SCHOOL.

Meanwhile, our stores have never been busier. Our delivery teams have been logging long hours picking up consignments and jamming our three showrooms full of amazing new furniture. Summer's at a standstill, but FCG is in full bloom and our showrooms are ripe for the picking.

We've got dozens of great dining room sets for the holidays and cozy leather sectionals for football season. Best of all, you don't have to wait six to ten weeks for shipping as you would at many of the major furniture dealers. Find it at FCG and take it home that day.

So drag your teenagers out of the house and tell them you need help loading some new furniture in your car. So what if they're only on page 5! They've got all next week to polish off that reading – while you're polishing your new cherry breakfront.

Topics: Boston Marathon